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Thinking about towing

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Two Hams in a Can

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Thinking about towing
« on: September 16, 2017, 05:42:09 pm »
Any PC Sprinter owners out there have any experience pulling a reasonable weight toad?  We are thinking of getting something in the 2500-3500lb weight range (CR-V, Hyundai accent, etc.) with a light weight Blue Ox hitch bar and braking assist; and were wondering if anyone had any issues of transmission heating or brake issues.  Inquiring minds and all that. . .  :)(:
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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 12:08:12 pm »
Thanks Renotse  tymote. . .the CR-V is high on our list for a toad.   2o2   :)(:
Jeff and Suzanne traveling with the Cocker Spaniel sisters, Scout & Sydney in Fawkes the Phoenix 
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RKS

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 08:38:49 pm »
We towed a CRV for approximately 15,000 miles with our 2012 2350 Sprinter with no issues, unfortunately I  can't say the same for our Blue Ox breaking system.
If you do a search on towing with Sprinters, including in this Forum you will find a number of commenters who believe the Sprinter chassis and drive train are not really built for towing especially heavier cars such as the CRV and Jeeps.  If you do decide to tow and a lot of us do, I think making yourself aware of the concerns expressed will make for safer towing.  A lighter car such as the pre-2014 Honda Fit might be another option
Lastly I can't speak for other years but I know our 2014 CRV, which is the last year that can be towed four down, cannot exceed 65mph when towed according to Honda.
Bob and Michele
Previously owned a 2350 Sprinter

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Funseekers

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2017, 03:04:34 pm »
Any PC Sprinter owners out there have any experience pulling a reasonable weight toad?  We are thinking of getting something in the 2500-3500lb weight range (CR-V, Hyundai accent, etc.) with a light weight Blue Ox hitch bar and braking assist; and were wondering if anyone had any issues of transmission heating or brake issues.  Inquiring minds and all that. . .  :)(:
We towed a 2012 CRV with both of our sprinters...09 and 2012.  Our tow bar was a Sterling all terrain and our braking system was a RVI 3...and we will continue to use both when needed with our new 2100 we'll pick up next week.
First, be aware of engine temp as the sprinter on a warm to hot day going up 4% grade will be in the mid 215-218 range to as much as low 220's in 5% and steeper grades on occasion.  Use your gears correctly and you shouldn't have any problems but also remember to avoid prolonged idling.
As an aside, if you don't have one, get a scan gauge...monitoring your trans temps are important too.

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ragoodsp

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 08:39:29 am »
Two Hams......Having once owned a Sprinter based coach I am going to throw my opinion out there that I am sure is going to open a flood of counter feedback but....Despite what the tow rating might be posted as I would personally have some serious reservations about towing any vehicle in the 3500 lb range behind a Sprinter.   I just do not think the frame and suspension in the OEM setup is really capable of long term exposure to that kind of stress.   The safety factor all so very much concerns me in that even with optional braking 3500 lbs is a lot of weight to manage behind a relatively lightweight frame structure that is always close to its max weight limit out the driveway.  I fully realize people are pulling lots of vehicles behind Sprinters but that does not necessarily mean it is the right and safe decision.   Something in the 2000-2500 lb range may be more realistic for you to consider?  Just my two cents.....Best of luck.
Ron Goodspeed

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donc13

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 12:51:03 pm »
Understand that whatever you tow, there will be a 20% or more fuel penalty and that you can NOT backup with a toad attached.

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Don and Patti

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Two Hams in a Can

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2017, 02:22:28 pm »
Thanks ragoodsp for your insight.  I too am a bit hesitant to commit to a toad in the 3500lb category.  We are leaning toward a Honda Fit which weighs in at around 2500lb.  We just need (a) a means of sightseeing without subjecting our dogs to waiting in a parking lot for hours depending on the genset or furnace to keep them cool/warm when we are in those kinds of weather; and, (b) having a toad that will have room to carry us and my 100# portable "cripple cart".

And Don, thanks for your headsup.  We pulled a toad for years behind our Foretravel DP so we know about no backing up (stories for another time involving a Benson, AZ U-turn; and another about a deceptive parking lot!).  As for mpg loss, it won't hit 20% but we will accept whatever it is. . .it's the journey that counts, not the "potholes".   :)(:
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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2017, 01:39:16 pm »
We have been towing a 3800 pound Liberty for 8 years with our 2007 PC2350 E350.  Never a problem.  Just don't go cheap with secondary braking.  If not done well, that would be an issue of concern..
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BlueBlaze

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 07:48:33 pm »
We have been towing a 3800 pound Liberty for 8 years with our 2007 PC2350 E350.  Never a problem.  Just don't go cheap with secondary braking.  If not done well, that would be an issue of concern..

Say, Ron, ever have any problem towing your Liberty in the mountains?

We towed my Ranger for the first time on a recent trip to South Padre.  I was surprised at the hit to performance.  Texas is flat as a pancake, but it still had to downshift just to climb the overpasses, and if I let it, the cruise control would run the RPM up to 3200 to maintain 65 on those little hills.   My average mileage for the trip was barely 7.5 mpg. 

It made me wonder if I ought to leave the Ranger home for that trip to Yellowstone next year.  It's supposed to weigh 3800, same as your Liberty.  My PC is almost identical to yours, too.  '07 chassis, no slideout.

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2017, 08:28:19 pm »
We have been towing a 3800 pound Liberty for 8 years with our 2007 PC2350 E350.  Never a problem.  Just don't go cheap with secondary braking.  If not done well, that would be an issue of concern..

Say, Ron, ever have any problem towing your Liberty in the mountains?

We towed my Ranger for the first time on a recent trip to South Padre.  I was surprised at the hit to performance.  Texas is flat as a pancake, but it still had to downshift just to climb the overpasses, and if I let it, the cruise control would run the RPM up to 3200 to maintain 65 on those little hills.   My average mileage for the trip was barely 7.5 mpg.  

It made me wonder if I ought to leave the Ranger home for that trip to Yellowstone next year.  It's supposed to weigh 3800, same as your Liberty.  My PC is almost identical to yours, too.  '07 chassis, no slideout.
Hi BlueBlaze,

Your story is the same as mine though our fuel economy is an average of 9.5 when limiting our cross-country cruising speed between 60 and 65 mph.  Most of our trips are across the Great Plains where our average fuel economy is positively influenced from.

One trip we left our Liberty home.  Fuel economy increased by an exact 1 mpg to a trip average of 10.5.  In all cases we tracked mileage by miles driven and gallons purchased from the time we left home, to refilling when we returned home.  I have a ScanGauge-II installed but I use it's fuel economy readings only to help me drive smarter.  It is not user friendly in keeping a running mpg tab throughout the trip.

One thing we learned leaving the Liberty home...."Don't Leave Home Without It".  We really missed the convenience of having it and won't do that again.

I never considered the loss of power an issue while towing.  I admit it is irritating when the trans would downshift at the over-passes as you mentioned.  This last trip I learned it helps NOT to use tow haul mode and cruise a bit faster to 68-70 mph when on the open road.  It does drop our fuel economy a bit but then the trans drops into one lower gear instead of two in most cases.  It is so much more peaceful driving that way.

Driving in the mountains is a different animal.  We just slow down and down shift when climbing or descending.  Our first/previous motor home was a Toyota with a carburetor 2.4L engine, a total slug, so our 2350 while towing is a rocket by comparison.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 06:53:15 am by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2017, 08:40:08 pm »
With all the comments here, and our everyday wheels scheduled to be paid off next year, we will look for a pre-owned car in the 2600 lb range and set it up as a toad.  I'm using this link to look at all the years and models that might fit our criteria.  http://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides/  Between Motorhome magazine and CarMax (or even Escapees Forum Classifieds), we'll find something that will work.  ;)
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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2017, 06:37:43 am »
I should also mention that our first two years with our PC, we towed a light weight 2100 pound 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder.  I was surprised how even that tiny car was significantly noticed with PC performance, though it affected fuel economy by half as much as the Liberty.  The Spyder was a great car to tow, a very simple setup, easy to manage, and just light enough to get by without secondary braking.  I wished I never sold it.  It was great for some trips where a 4x4 was not a planned requirement.

Though more complex with secondary braking, the Liberty is also an excellent tow vehicle.  And it is great for extra storage, most notably our pair of zero gravity chairs we use for star gazing.  With the class-III hitch on the back of the Liberty, we took our bicycles one trip which worked out great.  One thing I greatly appreciate towing the Liberty is our secondary braking system.  It is so good that it increases braking performance making braking better than when the PC is not towing anything.  When it came time for brakes on the Liberty, I installed cross-drilled & slotted rotors with ceramic pads on the Liberty like a high performance car has, just to give me all it can give with braking which has been extremely effective.  My secondary braking system has a feature to allow me to hit the tow brakes alone if needed of which I will do once in a while to give more time for the PC brakes to cool down.  It is also a great test feature, making sure the tow is working properly.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 07:02:45 am by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2017, 12:14:00 pm »
We have been towing a 3800 pound Liberty for 8 years with our 2007 PC2350 E350.  Never a problem.  Just don't go cheap with secondary braking.  If not done well, that would be an issue of concern..

Say, Ron, ever have any problem towing your Liberty in the mountains?

We towed my Ranger for the first time on a recent trip to South Padre.  I was surprised at the hit to performance.  Texas is flat as a pancake, but it still had to downshift just to climb the overpasses, and if I let it, the cruise control would run the RPM up to 3200 to maintain 65 on those little hills.   My average mileage for the trip was barely 7.5 mpg.  

It made me wonder if I ought to leave the Ranger home for that trip to Yellowstone next year.  It's supposed to weigh 3800, same as your Liberty.  My PC is almost identical to yours, too.  '07 chassis, no slideout.
Hi BlueBlaze,

Your story is the same as mine though our fuel economy is an average of 9.5 when limiting our cross-country cruising speed between 60 and 65 mph.  Most of our trips are across the Great Plains where our average fuel economy is positively influenced from.

One trip we left our Liberty home.  Fuel economy increased by an exact 1 mpg to a trip average of 10.5.  In all cases we tracked mileage by miles driven and gallons purchased from the time we left home, to refilling when we returned home.  I have a ScanGauge-II installed but I use it's fuel economy readings only to help me drive smarter.  It is not user friendly in keeping a running mpg tab throughout the trip.

One thing we learned leaving the Liberty home...."Don't Leave Home Without It".  We really missed the convenience of having it and won't do that again.

I never considered the loss of power an issue while towing.  I admit it is irritating when the trans would downshift at the over-passes as you mentioned.  This last trip I learned it helps NOT to use tow haul mode and cruise a bit faster to 68-70 mph when on the open road.  It does drop our fuel economy a bit but then the trans drops into one lower gear instead of two in most cases.  It is so much more peaceful driving that way.

Driving in the mountains is a different animal.  We just slow down and down shift when climbing or descending.  Our first/previous motor home was a Toyota with a carburetor 2.4L engine, a total slug, so our 2350 while towing is a rocket by comparison.

Thanks, Ron!  I was worried there was something wrong.  I normally get about 10 mpg, so maybe the wind near the coast would account for the poor mileage.  I was concerned that it might be dangerously slow or overheat on a steep grade, but since yours is the same on an overpass, I guess it just doesn't get that much worse on a serious grade.

Otherwise the Ranger made a great toad.  It tracked straight and added a bunch of room for beach toys.  We found an RVi2 brake system on Craig's List that worked great.

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Re: Thinking about towing
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2017, 12:30:48 pm »
It sounds like all is normal, all is well.  You are good to go towing your Ranger.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer